Chef brings the ‘best’ and the ‘wurst’ to Ponce with sandwich shop, beer garden

Credit: Courtesy of the Best Sandwich Shop

Credit: Courtesy of the Best Sandwich Shop

Shaun Doty has done a lot in his more than 25 years in metro Atlanta. The early protégé of acclaimed chef Guenter Seeger has cooked at or owned restaurants including Mumbo Jumbo, MidCity Cuisine, Shaun’s, Table 1280, The Federal and Yeah Burger, as well as currently at Federal Burger and Bantam + Biddy.

However, a sandwich shop and a German-style beer garden are two concepts he’s never been involved with. Now, along with partner Natalie Samples, Doty is tackling both with the Best Sandwich Shop and the Wurst Beer Hall.

Located at 863 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE in a former Moe’s Southwest Grill space, the Best Sandwich Shop, also known as “the Best,” debuted last month. Wurst Beer Hall, also called “the Wurst,” is set to open at the end of March.

The Best was built as an homage to old-school, no-frills, Italian-style sandwich shops. The counter-service eatery is “our way of bringing a little of the North to the South,” Samples said, with a nod to shops in Cleveland, Brooklyn, Chicago, and Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia.

Credit: Courtesy of the Best Sandwich Shop

Credit: Courtesy of the Best Sandwich Shop

Breakfast offerings at the Best include egg sandwiches and hash browns served plain or loaded with meat and cheese.

For lunch, customers can build their own sandwich of choose from a selection of hot subs, including the Farmer’s Daughter with seared halloumi cheese; the Schnitzelbrotchen, a chicken schnitzel sandwich with lemon-dressed arugula, shaved parmesan and mayo; and the Best of the Wurst, with bratwurst, sauteed peppers and onions, provolone cheese and Cleveland Stadium mustard.

The cold sub section includes Sunset Blvd with roasted turkey, bacon, avocado, tomato, sprouts, Swiss and tarragon mayo, and the LeBeau, the Best’s version of a pan bagnat named after a character from the 1960s sitcom “Hogan’s Heroes.”

“Our sandwiches aren’t inventive,” Doty said. “We don’t do creative, we do classic.”

Sides include Ukrainian beet salad, red pea soup, Matzo ball soup and fingerling potato salad.

Credit: Courtesy of the Best Sandwich Shop

Credit: Courtesy of the Best Sandwich Shop

Doty and Samples are sourcing numerous ingredients locally, using cheese from Capella Cheese, bread from Buckhead Life Restaurant Group’s 103 West , brisket and pork from Stone Mountain Beef and brats from Patak Meat Products.

The restaurant also features a small coffee bar and will eventually have a full bar. In the meantime, the Best is selling canned beer out of coolers until its Wurst neighbor opens in a few weeks.

When full-service bar concept Wurst debuts, it will take up about three-fourths of the building and will feature a front patio as well as an outdoor seating area in the rear that Samples and Doty are calling “the Backyard.”

The 12-beer list by Nick Rutherford, the former co-owner of Porter Beer Bar in Little Five Points includes local beers, as well as German beers and Guinness, a nod to Doty’s Irish heritage.

“Everything we do has some kind of backstory, or is some kind of trip we’ve taken or a relationship with somebody,” Doty said. “I have a lot of German friends, and I wanted to do something with the spirit of a German beer hall, with communal seating.”

The Wurst menu will include “German-leaning, approachable, classic bar food with some Southern touches,” Samples said, including brats, currywurst, pimento cheese, wings, deviled eggs, fish and chips, brisket stroganoff, and pork knuckle confit on Fridays and Saturdays.

Credit: Courtesy of the Best Sandwich Shop

Credit: Courtesy of the Best Sandwich Shop

“When we put it together, we didn’t want anything frilly or fancy,” Samples said. “We just want a place where people can come in, it’s super approachable, and you can have a good meal and some beer.”

While the plan is for both concepts to be open seven days a week, for now the Best is open from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesdays-Sundays. The Wurst will operate from 4 p.m.-midnight Wednesdays-Sundays.

863 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE, Atlanta. 404-941-1994,

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